After a lengthy wait, Wear OS users can now use the YouTube Music app to stream their tunes over Wi-Fi and LTE. And, as a bonus, users can also add the app as a widget for quicker access to recently played playlists or YouTube Music’s browse page.
In a user community post, Google says you’ll be able to access 80 million songs via the app. On top of ad-free streaming, the app supports Google’s Smart Downloads feature that automatically refreshes songs downloaded to your Wear OS watch whenever it’s connected to Wi-Fi. There are a few caveats. For instance, you have to be a YouTube Music Premium subscriber. Also, cellular streaming isn’t available for iOS Wear OS 2 users.
This standalone version of YouTube Music is the streaming service’s first smartwatch app since brutally replaced Google play music Late 2020. Samsung had preannounced this ability earlier this year for its flagship smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch 4which is currently one of our favorite Android-based watches.
If you’re a YouTube Music Premium subscriber, you’ll have access to the service’s entire streaming library, as well as pre-made playlists. You don’t have to put up with ads either and the app has a smart download feature to ensure the latest music is synced to your watch whenever it’s back on Wi-Fi. YouTube Music will also start building new playlists based on your history as you keep listening.
First-party music streaming on Wear OS has been problematic, to put it mildly. Google Play Music was available on the platform, but the app didn’t carry over when the company shut down the service in 2020 and transitioned to the YouTube offering. YouTube Music came to Wear OS (with offline-only playback) in summer 2021, but it was initially restricted to the Galaxy Watch 4 and didn’t come to Wear OS 2 devices until September that year. You’ve had to turn to Spotify and other third-party services for streaming, and in some cases, it wasn’t an option at all.
If you already have a Wear OS smartwatch, you have access to the new YouTube Music tile. The tile is like a quick launch remote control for recently played playlists. It also lets you browse the YouTube Music app main page from your watch.